Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Review: Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

Title: Ruin Falls    
Author: Jenny Milchman    
Published: April 2014, Ballantine Books  
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages   
Source: Library  

In a suspenseful follow-up to her critically acclaimed Cover of Snow, Jenny Milchman ratchets up the tension with this edge-of-your-seat story of a mother determined to find her missing children.
Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.

Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

My thoughts: This is my first time reading Jenny Milchman and I picked this up because two blogger friends had chosen this as their Book Talk book and had invited everyone to join in on the discussion. I love a good mystery/thriller and let me tell you, this definitely fit the bill.

This book is why I love to read thrillers. It's got a sinister story with creepy characters. It is fast-paced and filled with enough tension and drama to keep you on the edge of your seat as you frantically page through the book, and the short chapters only add to that tension and suspense.

I loved how Jenny Milchman kept twisting the tale, adding layer after layer to the mystery of what happened to Liz's kids, all the while making her fear for them quite palpable. On top of that, we get these chapters interspersed throughout the book that introduce other characters that appear to have no connection to the Daniels family. I knew there had to be something linking all these characters, and as each one is introduced, I was suspicious of them. Just how will all this come together? With each new character added, the main focus, though, never strays too far from Liz and her search for her kids. She remains the central part of the story.

This is the type of book that begs you to keep reading and I had a hard time putting it down, especially when I got to the last third of the book. The tension is kicked up a notch and as everything starts to unravel, there are more twists and turns thrown in.

Jenny Milchman is definitely going on my authors to watch list and I will be picking up her first book, Cover of Snow, very soon - hopefully before her next book, As Night Falls, comes out next summer! I'm so glad Tamara and Rhiannon picked Ruin Falls as their October Book Talk book - thanks ladies for helping me find a new author to love!!!



  1. I normally avoid books involving children like the plague but since it sounds like the children are safe I might be able to handle this one. The suspense sounds page turning. I'll have to add this to my TBR.

  2. I read another book by her that I really liked. I need to put this one my library list :)

  3. Kristin! Way to make my day!! I am so glad you enjoyed Ruin Falls. You enjoyed it for all the reasons I loved writing it, in fact. Thank you squared for reading, and for sharing your thoughts.

    I have to comment back to Katherine P. that she put her finger on an issue that was there from the very first moment I conceived of this story. (Which was in a hotel room kinda like Liz's :) Anyway, the idea came to me, and I said, "But the kids have to be safe, and the mother has to know that, and the reader does, too." Then my publisher came back with thoughts and they were: "But the kids have to be safe, and the mother and reader both have to know that." So we were all of like minds...you are not alone, Katherine. In Ruin Falls, if you're kind enough to read, you'll actually hear from the kids a few times throughout the book. They're there, and they're okay. They just really, really need their mom to come find them and get them back.

    Felicia, I'm so glad you enjoyed Cover of Snow! Thank you!

    Thanks again, Kristin. Great fun being here at your blog.

  4. This thriller does sound riveting, Kristin. I will keep an eye out for the work of this author.


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